Wanda Gene's Musings on Life, Love and Loving the Quilting Life!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Warm Day in January

Hi y'all out there--

We are in Tucson where the weather is lovely albeit at high end of the temp range that I favor.  Just put me in cool misty mornings for walking and  afternoons where the sea breezes move through.  Okay, that's not Tucson and never will be, but its not bad here today, I have to admit.

My brother had an accident recently where he went flying from his motorcycle and plowed his face into a rock in Saguaro National Forest.  He had to be airlifted to the Hospital's Trauma Center, where plastic surgeons did their best to put his face back together.

They really did an amazing job.  Now that the swelling is receding, he looks like his old self.  Don't worry, I won't be posting any before OR after pictures.  That would be unkind.

Just please remember him in your prayers.  He needs them in so many, many ways that I won't go into here.

I was very productive at Quartzsite, quilting-wise.

First I dived into getting the small units of the Orca Bay mystery quilt into larger units, all the while having to be super careful that the orientations and positions of all these units were consistent.

I had both light and dark Ohio stars that alternated, flying geese that had to point toward some blocks and away from others, well you get the idea.  This is a quilt that requires the piecer to have her wits about her with no daydreaming or lollygagging.

I pieced it in horizontal rows....You can see the first two stretched out on the sofa.  These two dissimilar rows repeat several times until the quilt is almost done.  Then there is one final row that is different still from the repeating ones. 

The piecing went much easier once I worked out this game plan for putting this complex design together.

Here are some more of the rows.  I pieced for about 2 1/2 days until I had all the rows completed.  Then I felt the need for a change of pace. 

I took out this project that I started at the retreat at the beach, but I had been saving it ever since for Quartzsite.  I had all these little units that resembled plus signs and they still needed to have the four triangles sewn around the outsides.  This makes the red (or pink or purple) squares float inside the blocks.  This is a design from one of Bonnie Hunter's books called Criss Cross Applesauce.  I intend to come up with my own name but I'll have to think on it.

Okay, I'm outta here for now.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Camping Among the Saquaros

Hi Y'all--

We are out here at Quartzsite in the middle of nowhere (it is a very good thing that they do have a name for this place because otherwise people WOULD just call it the middle of nowhere).  And we are all happy and busy.  How can this be?

Well, I have my sewing machine (with plenty of generator and battery power).  Jerry brought what he even calls Genie's Generator, a sweet-sounding Honda that keeps my sewing machine, iron and computor running fine.  Jerry has the shops and tents where he loves to shop.  We both have our friends from Tucson who also have their RV's out here.  Ondie's having fun being outside hanging with DH and our friends.

More people should be arriving today.  Right now it is just us and two other couples in our little wagon circle, but of course there are other RV's all around us.  Everywhere.  And I mean it, everywhere.


This is the view outside my door.  You can see the dark clouds forming...we think we'll get some rain today.  I just hope it won't be like last year's gale-force wind and rain.

I took this shot of my  Ondie.  He will be two years old in April. I don't believe where these months of his puppyhood have gone!  It seems like just yesterday he was a tiny little fluffball.    Not anymore!

I love the back counter of our fifth wheel RV for my sewing machine.  Here is where I have been piecing together the units from Bonnie Hunter's Orca Bay Mystery quilt.  After the mystery was revealed, I had to set it aside for a while to concentrate on some other things, including getting ready for this trip.  Now I'm sewin with a hot needle and lovin it!

Did I mention that I signed up for two Bonnie Hunter classes at the Glendale Quilt Show in March?  I am so looking forward to it.  Wouldn't it be fun if I can have this top done in time to take it with me for a little show and tell?


Monday, January 16, 2012

Little Oddments in My Life


I seem to be going at top speed this week but without any particular focus.  Where is my time going anyway?  It doesn't seem like I got any one thing done.  So it often makes me feel better about this state of affairs by listing the oddments, or bits that have kept me rushing around lately.  I think I'll use a bullet list.  I just like bullet lists.  They make me feel more organized than I really am.

  • I have been kitting up quilting projects for my upcoming trip to Quartzsite, Arizona.  We leave in a few days and I want to have plenty of piecing to do out there in the desert.  We go with our Amateur Radio group every year in January.  Potlucks and cast-iron cooking over a really big fire are the order of the week.  Jerry always plans a new recipe....this year he is doing a marinated barbequed tri-tip.
  • I took my Mother to over the hill to the big Kaiser facility twice in one week.  One was a class on how kidneys work.  I didn't see any place to sign in, just picked up the information folder.  Sure enough, yesterday I received a letter saying we missed our class and that we need to show up for the next one!
  • My son Jeff and his family came over for dinner on Friday.  We had a beautiful dinner cooked by my DH and a wonderful visit.
  • I have been putting the finishing touches on a gorgeous client quilt made of batiks pieced into spikey-pointed stars.
  • I have been brushing Ondie every day because he has been "blowing" coat for about a month.  My "German shedder" must think we are in for an early and hot summer!

But what is a blog without some pictures, hey?

 This is the start of a quilt from one of Bonnie Hunter's books that I started on my retreat.  I saved it for Quartzsite because it is already kitted up nicely.

These are ALL the units for Bonnie's Orca Bay Mystery that I plan to assemble on my trip.

I am hoping to have the top done in time to take it to the Glendale Quilt Show where I am taking classes with Bonnie!

After very enthusiastic greetings, Jonah's next words to me are always, "Grandma, I'm bored."  Then he lets out a long, miserable sigh.  That is the signal to get out Grandma's toy chest!  Boredom is relieved for the rest of the evening!

Jonah brought me these yellow roses.  This is a young man who already knows the way to a Grandma's heart!

Jerry made this delightful antipasto salad to go with our spaghetti with three-meat sauce.

Before I close I want to include a shot of the quilt I'm finishing .

This was taken when it was on my dining room table being trimmed.  I will try to get a shot of the whole quilt.  Doesn't she have an amazing color sense?

Monday, January 9, 2012

What Was Thought To Be Lost But Now Is Found

...that is, a pictorial record of a quilting retreat that I went on recently.  I thought I was having camera trouble ( if I already wrote about camera trouble, well, this is an update).  It was really computer trouble.  Almost all of my problems in my life (except for how to eat without gaining weight)  have been solved with the purchase of my new SCREAMING FAST new Windows 7 computer.  She can do everything except serve tea upon verbal command ( remember how Capt Picard would say, "Compu-tah.  Tea. Uhl Grey. Hot.").

So I was playing around with my compu-tah and using my camera as an external drive and there they were:  all the pictures from my fun four days at a really cool beach house with my pals from the local quilt guild.  I had thought that these pictures were gone forever.

We brought our own projects and sewed like it was the last chance any of us would ever have again.


When we weren't sewing we talked, ate, drank  margaritas, and made at least one run to some local quilt shops.


 We had our own cook, who made the most AMAZING food you could ever imagine.  We even had a masseuse that we could sign up for half or full hour!

If we got tired of all that, we could watch the waves break from one of the balconies, or take a walk on the beach!

 On Saturday morning we made a quilt shop run for Roxanne's in Carpenteria.  Roxanne's cute shop is like going to Disneyland for a quilter!  So much eye candy wherever you turn!  Mary Lou Weidman was doing a book signing that morning and it was great to meet her in person.

This is me with Mary Lou (on the right).

This is the featherweight room, with some classics and some gussied up with fancy metallic paint.
I did my share of the oohs and ahhs in front of this  display!

A bit of advice that we could all use.

I came home, an  unusual mixture of tired but mellow.  Can't wait to do this again next year!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Looking Back

Hi to All My Quilting Friends,

I don't know just how 2011 got away from me so quickly, but I sure know what I've been doing for the last month and a half!  Every spare nanosecond has found me in my sewing room working away on Bonnie Hunter's Orca Bay Mystery Quilt.  I took Bonnie's advice:  even if I did not finish all of each step, I would move on to the next step when it came out, at least to sample the construction of the newest units.

Because of that, I actually have something to post that looks like Orca Bay.

These are not all sewn together, but are mocked-up on my design wall.  I love this mystery!

I have to admit to a really dingbat of a mistake when I started making the Ohio star blocks.  I made two or three light Ohio stars and they came out fine.  Then I made the dark ones EXACTLY like the light ones (except dark, of course).  I did not read Bonnie's instructions very carefully (or maybe you could call me the dyslexic quilter).

I made four of these before I realized that my hourglass units were turned the wrong way!

So I pondered my options:

  • Unsew them and fix them.
  • Send them to the orphan block  drawer.  After all, they may not be Ohio stars, but they are sort of interesting.
  • Use them for back art on Orca Bay.
I decided to piece them into the back when I get there (kicking the can down the road is so popular these days).  I made the additional 16 hourglass units that I now needed for this option and all is well.

I have enjoyed so much joining in on Monday morning with all you fabulous quilters on Bonnie's Link-Up.  It has been a true joy to see what you all have done with this design!

Thank you, Bonnie, from the bottom of my heart, for this lovely quilt design.  Yes, all the small pieces are worth it.  The many steps are all worth it.  And the suspense is definitely worth it!